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A tale of two tail waggers

It is the calmest of times, it is the craziest of times, it is the age of sweetness, it is the age of mischief, we have a home full of love, we have nothing that hasn’t been chewed.

This is a tale of two tail waggers.

Our Jeffrey will wait patiently then accept a treat so delicately it would be perfectly safe to deliver it from your own lips. With our Dasher, who springs around like a mad kangaroo as you open the treat bag, you are lucky to walk away with all your digits
after the transaction is complete.

When there’s a hectic moment or a kid emergency, Jeffrey waits quietly outside the door until a family member finally sees that big, fat light bulb flash – Jeffrey is still outside! Not a peep from Jeffers.

If Dasher is a little slow following us out of the laundry room and inadvertently ends up behind the closed door, he’ll be yelping his little “RESCUE ME!!” pleas before your hand is even off the doorknob. A little dramatic, Dash.

Jeffrey enjoys belly rubs and attention, but he definitely appreciates his alone time. And forget him ever sleeping with us – he jumps out of his skin if he detects the slightest foot movement. Dasher, on the other hand, will tolerate a rollover of earthquake-like proportions as long as he gets to stay on the bed.

Both our dogs are wonderful companions, but when it comes to discipline and manners, Dasher could take a few cues from our elder statesman Jeffrey. The problem is, when I try to walk them together, they bring out the bad habits in each other.

That’s why I picked up the phone and called trainer Randi LaFerney with Off Leash K-9 Training. I should have her on speed dial!

“First of all, you work with them separately before putting them together. The best course of action is to walk them separately so they’re not depending on another dog for confidence or guidance, they’re depending on their handler. You have to work on their individual problems first before putting them together. After you get them acclimated, that’s when you add in another dog.”

Then she explained to me that the dogs would be much more settled if we established the order of our pack. Dogs crave structure.

“A lot of times people think the dogs will decide who the alpha dog is, but that’s not correct. The first dog into the house is the alpha.  All the rest are below.  The first dog in the household goes in the house first, you greet that dog first, feed that dog first, give him or her a treat first. Dogs need that order. Otherwise you have dogs jockeying for position in the household.”

And the leaders of the household/pack are us humans. Even if our dogs challenge us, or each other, from time to time, it’s up to us to maintain that order.

So I’m guessing having Dasher take over the bed each night like he’s the king of our castle would be frowned upon. But good luck getting that little lump of sugar to move. Besides, let’s be honest, there’s nothing like a little sugar from your pup. Now if we could just get Jeffrey to join us.

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